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“Heeeeere’s Johnny!” That lead-in, followed by a big band trumpet blast, was the landmark of late night television for three decades. The ‘Johnny’ was Johnny Carson, the announcer was Ed McMahon, and the bandleader was Doc Severinsen. Beginning in October 1962, “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” ruled the night air for thirty years. On May 22, 1992, it came to an end, only to launch a new career for Doc Severinsen.
Within a week of the final telecast, Doc Severinsen and His Big Band was on the road. Doc’s group has been composed of “The Tonight Show’s” best musicians — Ed Shaughnessy on drums, Ernie Watts on tenor sax and Snooky Young on trumpet. Their repertoire includes Ellington and Basie standards, pop, jazz, ballads, big band classics and, of course, “The Tonight Show” theme. Audiences are finally able to hear the depth of talent belonging to a band that rarely played a whole tune on the air. Severinsen can blow the roof off with a trumpet solo, but he is not the only accomplished soloist. Many of his band members get their well-deserved turns in the spotlight.